European Migrants as "Strange" Figures in Ali Smith's Autumn




Brexit, migration, the figure of the stranger, European citizenship


This article examines the representation of the European protagonist in Autumn by Ali Smith from a gender, intersectional and cultural studies perspective. The novel is a pioneering work in Brexlit, an emergent literary movement which aims to reflect the current political and social landscape of the United Kingdom after the 2016 European Union referendum. Firstly, this article offers an overview of the political, social and literary phenomenon of Brexlit, followed by an outline of Sara Ahmed’s theorisation of the sociological concept of the stranger. Secondly, the article further contextualises Brexit fiction, presenting its crucial role in putting forward a fair portrayal of migrants, a collective largely misrepresented in the UK media. The article then considers the centrality of Ali Smith’s Seasonal Quartet to the reworking of the British social imaginary. The subsequent two sections explore the encounters in which Daniel’s strange(r)ness manifests itself through his heterogeneous and relational yet singular identity, owing to his connection to the migratory experience. Retaining his differences and from a position of agency, the solidary bonds he establishes with Elisabeth convey strange(r)ness as a label that must be overcome in order to ensure a better coexistence within the British nation.


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How to Cite

Aldeguer Pardo, L. (2023). European Migrants as "Strange" Figures in Ali Smith’s Autumn. Miscelánea: A Journal of English and American Studies, 68, 185–203.



ARTICLES: Literature, film and cultural studies
Received 2022-11-14
Accepted 2023-10-04
Published 2023-12-19